Don’t Forget About Bing Ads

Don’t Forget About Bing Ads

With only 28% of the search market share, Bing is often overlooked by many businesses doing search advertising.  However, Bing Ads gets a solid share of all paid search clicks; companies not advertising on Bing could be missing out on as much as 40% of search advertising clicks.

Below are the paid search clicks, by industry, that Bing receives as reported by comScore in June 2013:

  • 40% Travel-Airlines
  • 37% Telecommunications
  • 36% Auto – Manufacturer
  • 34% Financial Services
  • 32% Career Resources
  • 28% Lifestyle – Food
  • 27% Home Furnishings
  • 26% Retail – Toys

The Bing audience is just as qualified as the Google audience and often times advertisers will see better ad performance metrics with Bing Ads.   We did an analysis of our clients advertising on both Bing & Google over a four-month period.  Here’s what we found when comparing Bing & Google metrics:

  • 55% saw higher CTRs on Bing
  • 73% saw lower average CPCs on Bing
  • 55% saw higher ad positions on Bing
  • Of clients tracking some form of conversion, conversion rates were an average of 1.94% lower on Bing

If you’re looking for a way to expand your advertising reach and you’re not using Bing Ads, give it another look.  Running Bing Ads will give you ad placement on both Bing and Yahoo search result pages. Getting setup with Bing Ads is as easy as importing your existing Google AdWords campaigns and making a few tweaks.

Want to know more? Contact us and we’ll be happy to tell you more about Bing Ads and how it can work for your company. 


Negative Keywords and Positive ROI Campaigns

Negative Keywords and Positive ROI Campaigns

Negative keywords help control the accuracy and cost of your PPC campaign by reducing the amount of clicks that don’t generate a return. Or simply, negative keywords help make sure people using search engines only see your ads if they are relevant to their search.

If your ads appear for searches that are irrelevant to your business, they could be costing you money. Lots of money. For example, if you are a Ford car dealership and you only sell cars, and not parts, you don’t want people searching for car parts to see your ad and click on it.

Here is an example of what I saw when I searched Google for “Ford Escape gas cap”:


Notice anything wrong? The third result is an ad for a “Brand New Ford Escape” not a Ford Escape gas cap. Sure, a searcher will likely try the first two ads first, but if they don’t find what they are looking for they might try the third. Or, a consumer may believe they are getting factoryOEM parts by shopping at an actual dealer. Finally, a searcher could accidently click the ad or become curious and click the ad to see what the “new” Explorer looks like in comparison to their gas cap-less one.

No matter what causes someone to click your ad when it is delivered for an irrelevant search, it costs you money to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. “Ford Escape Gas Cap” is searched an average of 40 times per month and costs an average of $0.41 per-click. While that’s only $16.40 a month of potential wasted spend, I can assume this same Ford Escape dealer might show up for a similar search such as “Ford gas cap”, which is searched an average of 90 times per month and costs an average of $0.73 per-click. That’s $65.70 in spend and a lot of leads can be generated for qualified car buyers for $65.70. These two search terms alone, “Ford Escape Gas Cap” and “Ford Gas Cap”, could be costing this advertiser $82.10 a month in wasted ad spend, and these are only two of thousands of keywords that make up their campaign.

With negative keywords, this Ford dealer could exclude their ad from being shown for parts-related searches including “gas cap”. This would save valuable advertising dollars that can be effectively put toward generating car-buyer leads instead.

Creating negative keyword lists can take a lot of work and thought, and must be minded regularly through search term reports and current events. A good campaign manager should regularly update negative keyword lists and always be looking for new negatives to include, making ads more highly targeted to your relevant market.

Here are a few more examples of when negative keywords could have served the advertiser to serve better ads:

Here’s a curiosity search to learn about bail bonds, though I have no interest or need in an actual bail bondsman. The average cost-per-click on “bail bonds” related keywords is $21.23. Ouch!

Searching inspiration and moving quotes yields results for Moving company ads.

Leather Coach purse related search serves a Leather Sofa ad.

Mobile Ads For Better Reach

Mobile Ads For Better Reach

Mobile Ads for better reach

If your PPC campaigns don’t have mobile specific ads that can display on smart phones and tablets, you could be missing out on half of your target audience. According to Google, consumers tend to switch between devices when researching and purchasing a product online and 50% of mobile searches have local intent. Now it is more important than ever to have ads for every device type.

Here are some interesting mobile usage growth statistics from Digital Buzz Blog:

• 50% of mobile users use mobile as their primary internet source

• 72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week

• Mobile leads other devices as primary delivery source of media consumption

• 41% have used a mobile device to browse for a product after seeing it in a show or advertisement.

• 80% of consumers plan to conduct mobile commerce in the next 12 months

Mobile vs. Traditional online ads
On average, mobile advertising is cheaper. According to PPC Hero (and this cool infographic), the average cost per click on a computer is $0.56, $0.46 on tablets, and $0.30 on mobile phones.

Not only are mobile ads cheaper, they also allow for greater interaction with the customer. Mobile ads can feature app extensions, call extensions, consumer ratings annotations, location extensions, review extensions, social annotations, and more. These extensions make the process to direct interaction much shorter and reduce the risk of losing a customer’s attention.

Call Extensions allow a customer using their cell phone to call your business directly from the ad instead of entering the website, locating the number, and manually typing it in to their phone.

Location Extensions allow a customer to quickly find your business through navigation assistance and GPS capable apps on their phone. One click, and their GPS app will pull up the directions to your location.

Seller Rating Annotations and Review Extensions showcase positive, third party reviews and show online business ratings with your ad.

Customers are on the move and traditional devices are being left to collect dust. Creating mobile optimized ads in your campaign can reach more customers, often for less money, and allows for greater interactions directly with customers.

Target Audiences with Remarketing

Target Audiences with Remarketing

RemarketingRemarketing. Sounds vaguely familiar, slightly intimidating and likely to boost campaigns if embraced. At Two Octobers, we’ve come to appreciate remarketing’s increased ability to target audiences, which is why we think 2014 is a good time to embrace remarketing.

Let’s start with the basics. Remarketing is based on user-behavior (and by user behavior, we mean people that have been to your site, abandoned a shopping cart or seen your thank you page to mention a few). The ability to reach these interested users again can turn a lost user into a conversion. It’s a great arrow to have in our quiver of online marketing tactics.

The user-behavior is tracked with a bit of code, commonly called a “pixel”. This pixel is provided by Google AdWords (and/or your Two Octobers account manager) and can be enabled on any account where you can access the site’s code. Once you have the code, it should be implemented on all pages of the site. When using Google for retargeting, they also require that you include the fact that you are retargeting users in your site’s privacy policy, so you are clear about how you’re using personal information.  Then, your SEM manager can start building out remarketing campaigns.

There are five kinds of remarketing campaigns within Google Adwords: Display, Search, Dynamic, Apps and Video.  These ads could include incentives to complete the conversion or specifics about your store that make it great (“free shipping”, “0% interest”, etc.) Likewise, with retargeting, you can exclude people that have already converted. Because the cookie is based on user-behavior, you can create a list that prevents your ads from showing to people that have already been to your thank you page and are unlikely to convert again.

Display remarketing is enabled on the Display network and allows for ads to be seen when a visitor is browsing a large variety of pages the web.

Search Remarketing targets searchers that have previously been on your website and search terms you target. An example of this would be someone that searches “mattress sale” and visits your mattress site in mid-January only to then search for  “mattress stores” ten days later.  This searcher can be targeted to see ads at a higher position (if appropriate) and with different messaging.

Dynamic Remarketing works with Google Merchant accounts and like the display network, are shown to visitors that have been to your page but are generally searching on the web. Like other dynamic ads, dynamic remarketing ads are based off of the site’s content and display images, cost and other details.

Apps Remarketing allows you to show your ads to visitors who are using other mobile apps but have previously used your mobile-app.

Video Remarketing, like its counterparts, allows you to target people based on previous user engagement. You can retarget based on people that like or dislike videos, subscribe or unsubscribe or have watched your videos in the past.

Knowledge is power. These different remarketing platforms create more options for finding your users and targeting your message. Every year is a year to grow your business and we think retargeting can help you do that in 2014.

Trusted Local SEO Comes to Denver

Trusted Local SEO Comes to Denver

Two Octobers is proud to be named a Factual Trusted Data Partner.  Factual is an anchor database and cornerstone of Local SEO and business listing management. As a Trusted Data Provider, Two Octobers has been verified by Factual as a source for trustworthy and high quality business listing data.

Factual distributes business listings to a network spanning thousands of publishers including some of the largest brands in local search. Factual is a prominent data provider for mobile applications and is known to positively impact geo-location data that is integral to many local mobile apps.

When you work with Two Octobers, your business listing submissions are quickly and accurately syndicated across Factual’s network and the larger digital landscape.

Correcting Business Listing Data

Working with Factual, Two Octobers’ Local SEO product delivers benefits that are hard to find with other SEO services. When our Local SEO team creates new business listings and edits existing business location data, you can be confident in the results.

  • Data Integrity – Providing accurate data in core databases like Factual helps to clean inaccurate listings on other websites, databases and directories.
  • Consistency – Two Octobers ensures the data we submit is accurate and verified by our clients. Factual then normalizes that data to encourage consistency wherever a business is found in Factual’s network, and beyond.
  • Authority – Trusted data submissions are granted significantly greater authority than other submissions, meaning they are readily accepted and trusted by Factual’s network partners.
  • Franchises and Chains – Two Octobers identifies multi-unit brands as “Chains” within the Factual database, providing greater visibility and data clarity.
  • Old and Erroneous Locations – Chain businesses frequently move stores to new locations and close stores all together. Moreover, many listings are just flat wrong. As a Trusted Data Partner, Two Octobers can easily indicate a store’s new location, mark stores as closed and remove erroneous listings; something that is surprisingly difficult otherwise.

Located in Denver, Colorado, Two Octobers is a boutique digital marketing agency specializing in paid, organic, and local search marketing. Forget about buzzwords, let’s talk real results. Give us a call to learn more.


Review Extensions

Review Extensions

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 4.44.45 PM

Google rolled out review extensions in mid-October, which like other extensions, adds information and size to your ad when Google shows them (and, like your other extensions, Google decides when they will show them). The image above reflects a review extension, which can be seen above the sitelink extensions; the text reads: “A+ BBB Rating, Accredited Business – Better Business Bureau.”

Review extensions give your ad a CTR boost that makes adding them worth it.  While ad extensions generally tend to have a higher CTR (in part, because they only appear on ads that are in the top three positions and, in part, because they share more information), review extensions outperform other extensions. We have a client that is a paint seller in California, and for them, the December CTR for extensions breaks out as follows: Sitelinks 3.36%, Location 2.07% and Reviews 3.96%. The same pattern holds true for several other accounts where we’re running them; the review extension has a higher CTR than the account average and that of the other ad extension options, making it definitely worth the effort.

The first step for setting up review extensions is to find a credible third-party review. This means that user reviews (Yelp) won’t cut it, but magazines and established blogs will (Home & Garden). Once you have your review, you need to enable it on your account. To do this, click on the ad extension tab at the campaign or ad group level. From there, drag the cursor to the review extension option. You should see a rectangle that contains your pre-existing reviews or an empty box with a button at the bottom with the text + New review (image below). When you click this, you will be prompted to define if it is Paraphrase or an Exact Quote (image below). Following that, you are provided with 67 characters to use between the text and the source. And, finally, you have to fill out your source URL so that Google can check the validity of your review extension.  If you choose, you also have the option of scheduling dates and times for when you would like your review to show.



New Review


Validating Landing Pages for Mobile SEM

Validating Landing Pages for Mobile SEM

Bad landing pages kill SEM campaigns, especially on mobile. We have one rule for mobile SEM: we won’t run a campaign without a solid mobile landing page. Visitors will bounce from a poor mobile page in microseconds. At 2 bucks a click, that’s not a great value for your SEM clients.

mobile SEM landing pageValidating landing pages for mobile SEM is essential. You can’t assume the same page will work on both desktop and mobile. We’ve all experienced websites that are too tiny to use, or worse don’t resolve at all. Even some “mobile optimized” sites are hard to use.

There are a number of reasons we might target mobile users for an SEM campaign. Generally speaking, we want to know what the customer is looking for. Local brick and mortar stores? Definitely mobile. E-tail? Maybe, if they have a slick mobile site. Patio awnings? Probably not. We also ask, where is our customer? If they are out and about, we definitely include mobile in our SEM mix.

That said, we will consider mobile SEM for any client with a mobile website, irrespective of who, what, where. The line between desktop and mobile is ever-fuzzier, and more and more businesses are upgrading to responsive websites. Increasingly, tablets are the web browser or choice for many people.

I recently created a mobile real estate campaign, the rationale being that home-buyers are driving from one neighborhood to another. We want to provide them with relevant information while they are on-the-go.

When creating a mobile SEM campaign one could use an iPhone, or whichever smartphone, to test each landing page, but typing on those tiny mobile keyboards gets old fast. Wouldn’t it be easier to work on desktop?

The solution is a mobile emulator where I can easily type (cut & paste!) my landing page URL to see what it looks like on various mobile devices and easily compare them with the full site.

Here’s an example from my real estate campaign:

The full site

mobile or desktop

The same page on an iPhone

SEM for iPhone and Galaxy

Another landing page for the same campaign:

desktop SEM landing page

And on the HTC Evo

mobile-sem-landing-page-3      mobile-sem-landing-page-4     mobile-sem-landing-page-5

In the later, I think the mobile version is even better than the full site, especially for someone driving around looking at new homes.

I’m happy I did the testing. I was afraid my landing pages would look like this:

bad mobile SEM landing page

For this project I used the Mobilizer desktop app from Springbox, and a browser app, the Mobile Smartphone Emulator from pixmobi. Knowing I have strong, usable landing pages I can focus my efforts on optimizing text ads and keywords for mobile. 

Bidding Down Is Hard to Do: Accepting the 1-3 Position Might Not Be the Best Fit

In our recent post, Six Ways to Identify Poor PPC Campaign Management, the number one item to monitor was a daily budget that exhausted itself early. Budgets that run out of money too early exist in campaigns that have limited their click potential. Since you’re reading Two Octobers’ blog and you have an interest in SEM, you maybe sort of already know that but you might not be totally clear on the how or the why. Let us explain. We’re experts.

First things first, a lot of people are concerned with top visibility. Specifically, they either want the first position, or the first/second/third position, all of which not only occupy the top center of the Google search page but also have the most expensive costs per click (CPCs). People want these positions because they believe the traffic is better there, the ad more glamorous and the prestige endless; the truth is, the audience is the same but the click is more expensive. Yes, the 1-3 positions on the screen are more eye-catching, but at the end of the day, it’s the same ad with the same message, talking about the same product. Remember, the person that sees your ad in the fourth position has the same interest as the person that sees your ad in the first position, and they have the same engagement on your site and the same conversion.  (If you don’t believe me, believe Google: Conversion Rates Don’t Vary Much with Ad Position).

So if that is true, why would someone vie for the top position? Why not pay less for the same click? To begin with, it’s a bidding system, which means someone has to be at the top. Secondly, it is to Google’s advantage to make the top position seem like a necessity. Third, there are differences in positioning: An ad in the first position gets noticed more and clicked on more frequently. The increase in clicks means the click through rate (CTR) increases and an increase in CTR should correlate to a decrease in CPC. Google rewards you for having a well-targeted ad that people click on. However, you are paying more for a top position ad, so the decrease in CPC may be negligible. The take away: ads in higher positions have a better CTR but usually still cost more.

Your strategy for ads in a lower position should be that they cost less and thus can drive more traffic. If you have a $100 budget for the day and an ad in the first position that cost you $5.00, you’re looking at 20 clicks for the entire day. If you lower your CPC to $2.00 and maintain the 5th position, you could drive 50 clicks for the day. That’s a huge increase in traffic.

I realize this strategy may be counterintuitive to what you know to be true (top positions for top ads!) but paying less for clicks will be worth it.

Six Ways to Identify Poor PPC Campaign Management

There’s no doubt that managing a PPC campaign, whether Adwords or Bing, is challenging. There are a lot of moving parts: keywords, ads, bids, budgets, ROI, account structure, and on and on. When you have a third-party or employee manage your campaign, how can you know if it’s being managed effectively? While results—purchases, leads, and traffic—are certainly the most important measure, here are a few other indication that a campaign is not being managed effectively.

1. Daily budget is used up by 10am. Or noon. Or 4pm.
If the budget runs out at 10am, bids are too high. Lowering bids will allow you to get more clicks, all day long.
2. Brand keywords are being used, without a discussion of the pros and cons.
There are reasons to use brand keywords. It’s also an easy way to make your cost per click look good. But that traffic likely already knew about your business–should you be paying for those clicks? Make sure you understand the pros and cons and that you are providing direction to your agency, not that they’re making that decision themselves.
3. Use of the Google Display Network without your knowledge.
It’s super easy to take a search advertising campaign and turn it into a display campaign. Turn on the switch to advertise on the Google Display Network, and text ads appear on other, non-search sites. This is an easy source of cheap traffic that doesn’t usually convert as well to purchases and leads as search does, where users start by actively looking for something.
4. There’s a single ad in each ad group.
Ad testing is a hugely important lever to improving campaign performance. Running multiple ads allows you test different messages for the same group of keywords, but it also allows Google to show the best ad on mobile vs. desktop vs. tablet and on search vs. search partners.
5. All the keywords are broad matched.
It’s astonishing how broadly search engines match keywords. Computer repair? Let’s match that with sewing machine repair. Furniture Store? How about Staples office supplies? A well-managed PPC campaign has a mix of keywords, strongly favoring modified broad match (+keyword), phrase match, and exact match.
6. Lack of transparency.
It’s your account, you should be able to see any data you ask for at any time, or even better, have access to the Adwords account.

If your campaign rings any of these bells, don’t panic. Open a discussion with your PPC managers—they may have good reasons for breaking these “rules”. But these are good reasons to open up a conversation with your service provider, and depending on their answers, consider alternative management options.

Where Do Conversions Come From?

Goals are one of the most under-utilized features in Google Analytics.  And if you’re not using them, you’re missing out on some great insights about how people use your site and how they convert. Because there are some really interesting reports that are only available if you have goals set up in GA.

A goal in Google Analytics is triggered when a user visits a page, makes a purchase, downloads a file, etc., based on what you set up in the Admin section of GA.  Even if your site doesn’t allow people to purchase products, setting up goals like viewing your contact us page, downloading a PDF, or visiting a large number of pages can help you see the subset of website visitors who are highly engaged.

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel Report "Top Conversion Paths"

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel Report “Top Conversion Paths”

But the really cool thing is that once goals are set up, you have access to the Multi-Channel Funnel reports in GA (find them in the Conversions section of Google Analytics). These reports will tell you information about users across their multiple visits to your website. How many times did they visit before hitting one of your goals? What was the time lag between that first visit and a conversion? And what different ways did the user get to your website on each of those visits?

We often use the source of the traffic to help determine the ROI on different forms of marketing. If we spent $5,000 in paid search last month, how many transactions and how much revenue was driven as a result? What percentage of the traffic that came through display media converted by visiting the contact us page or printing out a coupon? Looking at the source or medium for each transaction or goal tells you how the visitor came to your site on the visit they converted. But that’s only part of the story.

A recent analysis of multiple-visit traffic on a client’s website showed that in 44% of conversions, the source of the traffic on the visit that converted was different than the source on the first visit. That means nearly half the time, the “source” of your goal conversion isn’t what you may be thinking it is. Analyzing this data can show you what types of sources tend to attract new traffic and what types of sources tend to help visitors along the path to conversion. For this customer, we found that search (organic and paid), referral, and email are more often found in the first visits than the last visits—which means that those mediums may not be getting proper credit for the conversions they support.

Learn more with these resources about using Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels: